(Info provided by fisheries biologist Rob Weller and region fisheries staff)
FLINT RIVER – The Lower Flint River is high and muddy but the current river condition is good for catfish fishing. There have been reports of both flathead and channel catfish being caught in the Newton area on worms fished on the bottom. Hybrid and striped bass should be in the tailraces of both the Albany and Blackshear dams. Some favorite baits for these hard fighting fish include large white jigs, silver spoons and spinners. As temperatures warm and the water begins to fall in the Flint, fishing will continue to improve over the next few weeks.
The following USGS gauges of river level may be useful when planning your next fishing trip:
Montezuma above Lake Blackshear
Highway 32 below Lake Blackshear
Lower Flint River below Albany
LAKE SEMINOLE – According to Lake Seminole fishing guide Steven Wells, the fishing for both bass and crappie is about to really break loose in the next couple of weeks on Lake Seminole. Longer and warmer days will soon lead to spawning fish and expect fish activity to peak during the next full moon. Over twenty pounds of bass were needed to win a local Reel Money Team tournament last Saturday followed by just under twenty pounds for second. There is still a lot of muddy water coming down both the Flint and Chattahoochee Rivers but clear warmer water can be found in the backwaters amongst the hydrilla. Steve suggested throwing a speed worm or chatter bait in shallow pockets in these backwater areas.
(Info provided by Fisheries biologist Bert Deener)
The crappie and bass fishing is really heating up. Saltwater has been good on the warmer days. Expect the pond and swamp fishing to be off the chain by the weekend. High water in our rivers will help the fish populations later this spring, but don’t try them this weekend. Full Moon is February 22nd. To monitor all the Georgia river levels, visit the USGS website http://waterdata.usgs.gov/ga/nwis/rt.
Altamaha River – Nope…not this week in the upper river. Commercial shad fishermen are doing well in the tidal portion of the river, but that is it. Be patient. The river level was 14.1 feet (flood stage is 13 feet) and falling (51 degrees) at the Baxley gage, and 11.6 feet and falling (53 degrees) at the Doctortown gage on February 16th.
Satilla River – Not here this week… The river level on February 16th at the Waycross gage was 13.6 feet and falling (53 degrees) and at the Atkinson gage was 14.8 feet (flood stage is 13 feet) and falling.
St. Marys River – The St. Marys is fishable but is still high. Crappie anglers gave it a try this week, but the catfish were so voracious that they ate their minnows before the crappie had a chance. Your best bet on this river is catfish with shrimp (or crappie minnows!) on the bottom. The river level at the MacClenny gage on February 16th was 7.2 feet and falling.
Okefenokee Swamp – With the coming warm weather, sharpen your hooks and reline your bream buster poles. The shallow blackwater will warm quickly during the afternoons, and the fish will get active. By the time you read this, the flier bite will be wide open. I expect a lot of big fish moving shallow to spawn during the next couple of weeks. Fliers pushing a pound will be available. Pitching pink or yellow sallies with a bream buster is a great approach for fliers, while in-line spinners or minnow plugs will fool pickerel (jackfish) and bowfin.
Local Ponds – The pond bite for both bass and crappie has remained strong even with the cooler weather. Some nice bass were caught with live bait and senko worms this week. Michael Winge of Winge’s Bait and Tackle in Waycross said that Waycross area ponds produced some good catches of crappie for those dragging minnows around the deepest water in the pond. A few fish were also caught on jigs.
Saltwater (GA Coast) – A Waycross angler fishing from the bank this week had several excellent trips for seatrout. He landed almost 20 the first trip and just shy of a dozen the second trip. He used finger mullet when he could cast net them, and flashy jigheads with Sea Shads and hard jerkbaits when bait was scarce. The key is to fish deeper holes as the tide turns and starts flooding. Finding clear water is also a key. In the inland rivers and creeks, the sheepshead bite has remained strong for those dabbling fiddler crabs. Michael Winge reported some trout being caught on Assassin Sea Shads and a few whiting being caught on shrimp and squid. Mike and Trish Wooten of St. Simons Bait & Tackle reported that fishing from the pier has been slow, but a few whiting were caught on dead shrimp fished on the bottom. You can monitor the marine forecast at www.srh.noaa.gov/jax/.
Best Bet: By the time you read this we should be in the middle of a good warm-up. Daytime temperatures will warm shallow waters, such as the Okefenokee and shallow ponds. Fish for fliers in the swamp with yellow or pink sallies. In ponds, look for bass to move shallow on warm afternoons. Pitch hard jerkbaits or shaky-heads with senkos to them.
(Info provided by fisheries biologist Jeff Durniak and region fisheries staff)
We’re on the verge of the first spring stirrings, as rainbow trout are moving due their spring spawning urge and or are being moved by flood flows. Crappie, stripers, hybrids, and walleye are also moving a bit as they follow shad and herring, which will hunt water that’s been slightly warmed by sunlight hitting any section of lake muddied by recent rains. While it’s slow now due to winter water temperatures, the next round or two of warmer days will start nudging these fish back into feeding mode.
As we see the approaching warmer days, http://www.intellicast.com/Local/Weather.aspx?location=USGA0267, remember these reasons for sport fish to move and intercept them. The late winter/early spring period is one of the best times of the year to hunt for size over numbers. Our total catch might be down, but average size often compensates for low catch rates.
And if you think fishing is just a hobby and not an economic engine, take a look at the first bullet, below.
- Fishing in Georgia = Big Business
- Big Trout Tips – “Reasons to Leave”
Now is a very good time to run across some big rainbows on spawning runs, or some unfortunate ones blown downstream by a recent flood.
- Net that Big Fish
Like this one:
- Feb 13 Dukes Report
Hope all is well with you!!!
Mog and I went to Dukes last Saturday and had a great day, as if every day on the water isn’t great! We got geared up and hit the water shortly after 8am. Air temp was around 28 degrees with a slight wind at times.
Down and dirty was the ticket! I fished 4x flouro almost exclusively, although I did use some 5x for droppers when fishing a tandem rig! We didnt have a high numbers day but more than made up for it in fish quality! We caught em on a selection of flies includes eggs, girdles, soft hackles and small nymphs!
Largest of the day for me taped out at 23″. Kurt wrangled in a nice 20″er as well! I did hook and fight one who could of been pushing 26″+ but he decided he had enough and broke me off with head shake right at my tippet ring! Thanks to Kurt’s advise, I reduced the turns on my improved clinch from 6 turns down to 4 which seems to put less friction on the tippet when sliding it down!
All in all, it was another great day on the water with a great friend…life is good!!!
(Editor’s note: site staff said that there have been numerous no-shows and early departures this winter. Anglers should aim for Dukes on their early drives north. If it’s full, try calling again, and then again. If it’s still full as you enter White County, try Smith DH or the abundant wild trout streams, now open year-round, as your consolation prizes. Smithgall 706-878-3087)
- DH reports
Good angler reports on Smith DH are also coming from shop managers at Unicoi Outfitters.
PS- For those of you who carefully read these reports, I just heard and felt the tremor of stocking truck engines. Got squirmies and Y2K’s?
- Upper Hooch Tailwater
Experienced anglers are having good days during those breaks between dam generations.
- Blue Ridge Dam Operations
Fyi on TVA operations. If rains subside, non-generation windows should become more common.
- History Predicts the Future
Savvy anglers look back on reports from years past to know what’s just around the corner. For example, read about the Toccoa caddis hatch in this old report and have some #16 and 18 gray caddis ready to throw in the next week or two, when water temps consistently hit the upper forties.
Blast from the past:
- A Few Fresh Stockers
We need to make a little room at our crowded trout hatcheries to promote growth of our 2016 inventory. Therefore, fishing in the upper Lanier Tailwater (dam down to Island Ford), Nancytown Lake, and Vogel Lake might be pretty good this weekend.
- Lanier Crappie and Stripers
- Lanier Crappie Report
Crappie Fishing Report February 17, 2016
This Lake Lanier Crappie report is from Dan Saknini, member of the Lanier Crappie Angler’s Club. See our club’s website, http://www.laniercrappieanglers.net
Water temperature is about forty seven degrees, typical for this time of year. The projected weather forecast looks very promising, with warmer days and cooler nights. This should nudge the water temps up to the low fifties, which will give you the flexibility to fish further north on both the Chattahoochee and the Chestatee. It also means good fishing! You can feel that spring is on the way. Local bait stores have stocked their shelves, and the anticipation of the fishing community is building as nicer days appear. Bass Pro Shops just completed their Crappie Madness weekends and I was fortunate to be a part of it, representing Bobby Garland Crappie Baits in Savannah. I’ve been using Bobby Garland baits for many years, and it has always been a favorite, especially for shooting docks. Now that our lake has gotten back to normal, the color of the jig is not that important. However, our current favorites are Bobby Garland’s “Lights Out”, “Threadfin Shad” and “Pink Phantom”. Another product worth noting that hit the market in the last few weeks is B & M’s “SharpShooter 6” rod. I give it two thumbs up. For reels, the Shimano, in the 1000 series is one of my favorites. They come in various levels, and I think the Sienna or the Solstace are the best for the buck. As you may know, my favorite jig heads are Davis Jigheads, in 1/24 ounce or 1/16 ounce, depending on wind strength. I’m looking forward to trying out some new Bobby Garland jig heads though, and will report back with my feedback. Four pound test HIGH VISIBILITY line is a must for crappie fishing. Don’t forget to replace your line on a regular basis to prevent curling memory from impacting your fishing experience. This is an inexpensive line and frequent replacement is worthwhile. OK, now you are ready to find the right dock, as the fish remain tight on docks with structure. Your Lowrance side scan will assist you in finding the structure under the docks. Dock shooting is the consistent method of catching fish. If you need to brush up on your dock shooting technique, feel free to visit our club’s website listed above and click on “Tips and Tricks of Shooting Docks.” Hope you’ll enjoy the weather, and take a friend fishing!
Stay safe on the water and wear your life jacket!
- West Side Crappie
I was at Allatoona today (2/18) and there were half a dozen boats crappie fishing in the Kellogg Creek arm of the Lake near Payne campground. As bunched up as they were, they must have been catching fish. I suspect that the crappie bite at Allatoona is picking up. Jigs tipped with minnows and slow trolled is the tactic of choice. Try the Kellogg Creek area of the lake around fish attractors 25,26,27 and 31 (http://www.georgiawildlife.org/sites/default/files/uploads/wildlife/fishing/pdfs/reservoirs/fa_all_3of4.pdf) . There is also fairly good bank access around the Payne Boat Ramp and Kellogg Creek Rd. Bridge.”
Eagle Scout candidate Will Ridenour, with Kennesaw Boy Scout Troop 002 recently created several new brush piles in the Coopers Branch area of Lake Allatoona (see pic). It won’t be long before these spots are inundated with water and holding fish. The brush piles are within easy casting distance of the bank along Hwy Spur 20 near the Army Corps Project Office.
Crappie are starting to bite at the Mayo Lock and Dam on the Coosa River http://www.rfpra.com/park-lockndam.htm
Anglers are also starting to catch white bass farther downstream on the Coosa River at the mouth of Brushy Branch (Big Cedar Creek). Shad colored spinners, jigs and crankbaits will illicit strikes from these mini-linesides.
– WRD senior fisheries biologist Jim
- Crappie Videos
- Ken’s Reservoir Reports
- Kids Art Contest
- Free Fishing Seminars
(Thanks to Ken S for this agenda)
- Bass Pro Shops Spring Fishing Classic, Lawrenceville Georgia
Friday, Feb 19 @ 7pm – TRAVIS JOHNSON Bladed Jigs: Learn How and Where to Fish Bladed Jigs for your Next Big Catch
Saturday, Feb 20 @ 11am – WAYNE HOLLAND New To Saltwater Fishing? Learn All You Need to Know to Get Started
Saturday, Feb 20 @ 12pm – KEN STURDIVANT, Basics of Sonar, What does Sonar do?
Saturday, Feb 20 @ 1:30pm – WAYNE HOLLAND Women’s Fishing: How to Make It Fun
Saturday, Feb 20 @ 2pm – MIKE LEWIS Offshore Gear Selection: The Latest in Offshore Fishing Tackle
Saturday, Feb 20 @ 4pm – MIKE LEWIS Surf Fishing: On the Shoreline, or Wading the Surf, Strategies That Work
Saturday, Feb 20 @ 4:30pm & 5:30pm – PATRICK BONE Will be doing Tank Demos & Kids’ Workshop
Sunday, Feb 21 @ 11am – MIKE LEWIS New to Saltwater Fishing? Learn All You Need to Know to Get Started
Sunday, Feb 21 @ 2pm – MIKE LEWIS Offshore Gear Selection: The Latest in Offshore Fishing Tackle
Sunday, Feb 21 @ 4pm – MIKE LEWIS Surf Fishing: On the Shoreline, or Wading the Surf, Strategies That Work
Sunday, Feb 21 @ 4:30pm – MIKE LEWIS – Kids’ Workshop
Seminars are subject to change without notice.
- A Great Legacy
Any fans of Three Dollar Bridge on the Madison should take a moment to read this and be thankful for this gentleman’s commitment to conservation. May his wife and sons take great pride in his conservation legacy, which continues to benefit many of us summer western trekkers. Can one person make a difference in conservation, here or abroad? You bet.
(Many thanks to midcurrent.com for the story link)
Good luck during our tail end of winter. The good news is that spring is right around the corner. In the meantime, find a warm afternoon to work a bait slowly and hold on. You might just catch an egg-laden wall-hanger!